Ho Chi Minh airport is not very big but it looks quite new. It is very efficient and within minutes we have our luggage, pass customs and find ourselves outside the terminal. A surprise; a man wearing a t-shirt with the American flag? I try to imagine the reaction back home if someone showed up with the swastika on their t-shirt 35 years after WW II…….
Anyway, we had been advised to book transfer from the airport and shortly we found the man with the sign carrying my name and “MuiNé Sailing Club”. So far everything worked perfectly, let’s hope it stays that way. We’re herded to a large Toyota SUV and start off.
Then chaos breaks loose! We’re setting off on what must definitely be the most peculiar drive we’ve ever been on. Motororcycles, scooters and just a few cars – it’s just like a big stream of movement, criss-crossing back and forth in one continuous flow. The whole shoal slowly moves forward. The driver smiles and shakes his head as he slips into the traffic. Cars are bigger and much heavier than motorcycles but that doesn’t seems to worry anyone. This is surely how the herring feels in the middle of their shoal! The driver, obviously a very patient man, maneuvers back and forth and in the back we are two tourists sitting with open mouths and clicking cameras. The electric wiring of this city would make any Norwegian electrician euphoric. This is the perfect chaos but oddly enough we crawl slowly forwards, hopefully in the right direction. There is noise and movement all around us and the road signs, to the extent that they exist are obviously just for decorational purposes. And the traffic lights, placed horizontally and not vertically as in Europe seems to be here for the same reason. A true paradise for the colorblind. After a few hundred meters and about one hour the scooters, motorcycles and cars seems to get fewer and fewer but to no avail, because now we are joined by trucks and busses and the road is getting narrower. I remember reading somewhere that in Vietnam they drive on the right side of the road, that they are right-side drivers, but they don’t seem too fanatical about it. There are cars and bicycles, scooters and trucks passing us on the left and on the right and every now and then there is someone coming in the wrong direction as well but that doesn’t cause any commotion. The whole chaos is accompanied by a cacophony of sounds. After a while though, it strikes me that there seems to be some kind of order in this jumble. There are no sharp or sudden movements, very little aggression and no close calls. All the honking and waving is just to let the others know where you are. There are no waving fists and no provoking finger. During the whole 4 hour trip in this traffic the driver make only one single sharp movement and that causes him to apologize. What would the situation have been if all these vehicles had been manned by arrogant Italians, or Norwegians for that matter? All of a sudden it gets dark and the traffic becomes even more incomprehensible, my wife is sleeping and I doze off a little myself. Our driver’s English is rather poor and our Vietnamese is none existent but we manage to tell him to take us to an ATM as we reach Phan Thiet. It’s completely dark outside and more than 35 degrees C. The heat hits us as we leave the car and withdraw a few million Dong. (You easily become a millionaire here. 1 us dollar will buy you 29.000 Vietnamese dong). The driver manage to explain to us that he is going back to pick up guests one more time tonight, the poor man. Then, all of a sudden he pulls up in front of a rather inconspicuous entrance and declares. You al now at the MuiNé Sailing Club and thank you fol the tlip
It’s late night and pitch dark, we’re quickly checked in and taken to our cabin and sleeping as we hit the pillows under the mosquito-net.
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